Update: The House voted to pass the Senate’s version of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday with a vote of 286-138, CNN reported.
Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore (D) spoke passionately on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday as the legislative body prepares to take up the re-authorization of the lapsed Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), invoking African-American abolitionist Sojourner Truth to ask of the women not included in the bill, “Ain’t they women?”
“I pray that this body will do as the Senate has done and come together as one to protect all women from violence,” Moore said. “As I think about the LGBT victims that are not here, the Native [American] women who are not here, the immigrants who are not included in this bill, I would say as Sojourner Truth would say, ‘Ain’t they women?’”
“They deserve protections. And we talk about the constitutional rights. Don’t women on tribal lands deserve the constitutional right of equal protection? And not to be raped and battered and beaten and dragged back onto Native lands because they know they can be raped with impunity? Ain’t they women?”
The House is poised to vote on the VAWA, which expired more than 500 days ago, on Thursday.
First passed in 1994 to force states to take domestic violence more seriously, the VAWA was one of Vice President Joe Biden’s signature achievements during his time in the Senate. The VAWA provides fundings to investigate incidents of domestic violence, allows victims to sue abusers who were not prosecuted and provides specialized training to police to deal with domestic violence.
Re-authorization stalled last year when House Republicans opposed an expansion of the bill that included protections for LGBT victims, increased prosecution authority over assaults on Native American lands and expansions for undocumented immigrants. Last week, the Senate passed a bill that included these protections and it is that version that the House is expected to vote on.
As The Hill noted, if the VAWA passes today, it will be the third piece of legislation in the last two months that passes thanks to support from Democrats, a minority in the House.
Watch the video, uplaoded to YouTube by Faiz Shakir on Feb. 28.